Review Summary: Boards of Canada, without the signature atmosphere.
Let me just start by saying that Boards of Canada is one of my all time favorite electronica bands. My Spanish 2 teacher lent me her copy of Geogaddi, which first got me interested. I then purchased a copy of Music Has The Right To Children, which solidified BoC as my favorite band at that time. A while later, my friend lent me his copy of The Campfire Headphase. Try as I could, I failed to connect with the album.
The record starts off with "Into The Rainbow Vein," an intro track similar in length to "Wildlife Analysis" and "Ready Lets Go" of Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi, respectively. The eleven songs that followed this intro got a satisfied nod from me. The non-filler tracks were good, and the introduction of live instruments was a cool, creative step for the band. I was kind of neutral towards the interludes; they were not bad, they just weren't very interesting.
What really disappointed me was the absence of the evocative, dreamlike quality that made BoC so intriguing. So far, the mood of the album had been light and happy. Then "Slow This Bird Down" started playing. Right from the beginning, I thought, "Now this is what I'm talking about." It had that ethereal mood that originally made the band's music so compelling.
The album closed with "Farewell Fire," a track that had me wondering what was going on about four minutes in. I skipped through the rest of the song, hoping to hear something stand out, but nothing did. It seemed as if Sandison and Eoin had managed to take one of their interludes (normally about a minute to two minutes long) and stretch it out in an eight and a half minute song. Beautiful though it may have been, it only added to my disinterest.
All in all, The Campfire Headphase is a good album. The music is very well done, and the addition of new instruments to the bands repertoire shows that they are still as experimental as ever. However, the overall mood and somewhat boring interludes don't quite do it for me like the previous albums. 3/5.